Saturday, April 10, 2021

Ferrari confident straightline speed weakness is fixed

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The Italian outfit endured a frustrating 2020 campaign, with its SF1000 hampered by both a down-on-power engine and too draggy aerodynamics.

It left drivers Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel down on top speed for the straights, which hampered hopes against rival teams.

The team has worked hard over the winter at its Maranello base to address the deficits, and it has confidence that it will not suffer the same weakness this time around.

Speaking at a Ferrari 2021 launch event on Friday, team principal Mattia Binotto expressed his confidence that the squad was in better shape both with its engine and its aerodynamic efficiency.

“I think that last year the main issue was the speed on the straight lines, not only the power but both power and drag,” he explained.

“We’ve worked a lot, both on the power unit, and the car aerodynamics, to reduce the drag of the car.

“And based on our simulations today, based on what we can see in terms of power output from the dynos, and the drag of the car from the wind tunnel, I think that we recovered quite a lot of speed on the straights.

“So I’m expecting the speed not to be such an issue as it was. We hope to be competitive, but we will know it only when being in Bahrain, because it’s always relative to what the others are doing.

“But we believe that our car is certainly more efficient compared to the one we had last year, and when I’m saying efficient, again, it is both from the aero point of view, and from the power unit point of view.”

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Although Binotto is encouraged about the situation Ferrari is in with the car, he is well aware that the team cannot expect to close the entire gap to Mercedes and Red Bull in just a single season.

“The way I’ve seen the car developing both in the windtunnel and on the dyno, I believe that somehow we made a significant effort,” he said.

“But you cannot know where you are if you are not on track, and I think that will be important for us. We need to be realistic. The gap to the best last year was very important, and not something that we can recover in a single winter.”

Binotto also said that with the team so focused on capitalising on the opportunities for 2022, it will not devote much time on developing the SF21 during the forthcoming campaign.

“Our focus during 2021 will be developing the 2022 car,” he said. “That will be the main target, so we will not spend much time on the 2021 [car] during the season.

“There is always a balance, and it’s a choice that we need to make at some stage. But the 2022 car is such a big change that there is at least a minimum quantity of exercise and design and projects that need to be developed. So most of the effort will be there.

“That’s why how the car is handling at the very start of the season is very important, because it’s somehow the balance of performance we may see for the rest of the season.

“As I said, we obviously know how much we progressed in the windtunnel and with power. But more than that, what will be important is to see the track delivery. How really the car will be on track compared to expectations.”

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